Mapping the Communication Network of the Datini Company

[This project had significant technical assistance from Pavel Oleinikov at Wesleyan University and Logan Davis, Marlboro class of 2017.] I have been working with the Datini metadata and letter collection for about a year, but have had more ideas and questions rather than actual analyses and observations.  Just this semester, … Continue…

Exploring Institutional Structures and Individual Networks

by Helen Birkett I’ve been in residence at the Traveler’s Lab this semester and have taken the opportunity to work with Wesleyan students to extend my study of Caesarius of Heisterbach’s social network. The results, so far, are promising… Background My project uses the Dialogue on Miracles by Caesarius of … Continue…

Chronography’s Geography: To Organize Geographic References

By Ethan Yaro Note: This is the fifth in a series devoted to the project “Narrative and Geography in the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor”. First post here; second here; third here; fourth here. The chronicle is geographically dense. After completely coding only half of the text, we have reached … Continue…

Chronography’s Geography: What counts as Geographic Reference?

By Jesse W. Torgerson and Ethan Yaro Note: This is the fourth in a series devoted to the project “Narrative and Geography in the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor“. First post here; second here; third here. The approach we are describing in detail here allows us to artificially reconstruct, in … Continue…

Chronography’s Geography: Software & Database Structure

By Jesse W. Torgerson and Ethan Yaro Note: This is the third in a series devoted to the project “Narrative and Geography in the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor“. Our first post considered what the question of place in narrative means for historical research, and our second the question of  … Continue…

How to Show Chronography’s Geography?

by Jesse W. Torgerson Note: This is the second in a series devoted to the project “Narrative and Geography in the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor“. Our first post considered what the question of place in narrative means for historical research. Subsequent posts are concerned with how we set up … Continue…

Can We Map Space & Place in Historical Narratives?

by Jesse W. Torgerson Prefatory note: This is the prosaic introduction to what will be an ongoing series of posts tagged as “Narrative and Geography.” Subsequent posts concern the question of  mapping ‘space’ v ‘place’; how we set up our database; and, what we consider ‘geography’ in the Chronography. The … Continue…

Notes on the margins: how to extract them using image segmentation, Google Vision API, and R

One of the biggest discoveries of the past year for me was the trove of documents available online through the activities of Internet Archive: there is a variety of books from the 19th and early 20th century, scanned, converted into pdf, and even into plain text form (after Optical Character Recognition – OCR – was done on them).  With text available as txt file, it would seem easy to apply various text mining tools to extract information.  This easiness is deceptive: the technology used to recognize text gets in the way.  This summer I was working on extracting text printed in the margins of John of Gaunt’s Register. This was part of Gary Shaw‘s project on the travel of bishops in medieval England.  Below is a summary of the problems I discovered and the solutions I applied.

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